Well, What Else Is There To Do?
I know we’re just starting, but hold on. I’m steady re-dialing The Spicy Pearl as I type. Trying to get me some RibFest/Community Cookout…..
Now, where was I? Right, complete system reboot. It’s been a while since I’ve dusted this keyboard off. Gotta do a systems check to see if everything is in working order:
Q.W.E.R.T.Y. QWERTY. Keyboard, check.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Words in brain, typing abilities, check.
Poooooop. Pooping in the woods. Subject matter, check.
Fuc….yep. Curse word vocab, check.
Everything seems to be good to go. Let’s do this.
I don’t want to waste any more of your time. But yes, let’s talk about the dirty, microscopic elephant in the air. How has your Covid vacation been? I remember asking Lauren one day in January while we were on vacation – “have you been following this news about some virus in China?”. Then, as we flew home, I sat next to a girl on the plane who was bailing on her 6 weeks in Bali to come home because she felt this thing was going to get out of control. I thought she was a little wacked for thinking that and not finishing her vacay. I was wrong. And here we are. Things seem to slowly be on the mend. The light at the end of the tunnel is coming. It’s probably going to end up being a train. A huge, speeding train full of nuclear waste if 2020 has its way. But, come on, it’s summer time and adventures are being had. Trust me, you’re gonna come out of this just fine. And in 13 or 14 years, we’ll all be laughing about it. While wearing masks. Like Mortal Kombat characters. I know people have already got dibs on Scorpion and Sub-Zero, so if I could have Reptile? Nobody call him? Good. Moving on. No more talk of the nasty nonsense. Let’s hike, baby.
Local Hikes, Yay. Yay? Mostly, Yay!
Alas, we cannot cross the border to continue our quest to snag all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks. For a good minute there, both myself and Johnny Mountaintop had been pretty down in the dumps about it. Not just the ‘Dacks. Our trip to Hawaii was canceled way back due to protests on the mountain we wanted to climb. So we changed our plans – July 2020 was going to be our first big time, international hike. Costa Rica was booked, paid for and we had a ton of sponsorships from amazing local businesses. So many plans down the drain really put us in a funk. Badly, at times. Seriously, first world problems? But, honestly, sitting around being mad about it wasn’t doing me any good. I’ve always known we have plenty of local hikes in the area. And I’ve done a bunch of them. But they’ve never quite compared to climbing big mountains. Doing 25km, uphill, climbing to over 4000 feet. Setting a goal and achieving them one by one. And so, I decided that with all this free time, maybe it was time to revisit these local trails. Maybe rank ’em. Maybe give my two cents about what each one might be good for and for whom. I started in Berwick, at Warwick Forest Conservation Area. There’s a little 3km nature trail out that way. Besides hanging out with the Caveman Al, there were two highlights that day: the butterfly photo from above and my first trip to The Finch Market. (Check them out on IG: https://www.instagram.com/the_finchmarket/
I can’t even pretend to have had fun on this trail. It was great catching up with Al.
Which reminds me. This is so funny to me and I’ve thought about it often lately. Aside from hiking, literally no one in our crew really hangs out outside of hiking. Which is such a beautiful thing, to be honest. It’s like every time we get together everyone at some point ends up getting some one on one time with everyone else. We all get that chance to catch up and then we don’t see each other for weeks on end.
Anyhow. Al and I caught up. We spent, maybe, 45 minutes on this trail. There were a couple tiny (tiny!) side trails that lead to nothing really. A small pond that was all but dried up. When we reached they end, we literally looked, shrugged and turned around.
But, hey. It was 3km on some really nice, soft soil. It would be great for trail running, if that’s your thing. I don’t really run. I don’t see a reason in it. Unless zombies suddenly get 28 Days Later-type fast. You can also bring your dog on this trail, as long as it’s leashed. If the aforementioned zombies are real, maybe don’t bring your dog. Unless you need something to throw to save yourself. Bring your dog.
Garry Fen, Please Save Me!
I thought Garry Fen was a dude and this trail was named after him. I think the ‘Garry’ is as in Glengarry. And if we have any Scrabble players reading, a Fen is “a low and marshy or frequently flooded area of land” according to the ole Googlebox. It certainly was that. And I just got you 6 points in Scrabble. Fen. Go for that Triple Word Score to make it worthwhile. The trail, right. There’s a really nice dirt road-type trail, a few boardwalks and pretty large pond. All of it obscured by the massive, massive swarm of every flying insect you can imagine.
That’s Johnny Mountaintop with a full-head-covering-bug-net. Which is funny, because we have this running joke where we text each other “#nomoregear”. Usually after we’ve just bought something new. This happens multiple times a month. A couple months ago, we were set. We didn’t really need anything else, in terms of gear for the upcoming hiking season. But, itching to buy, I cruised on over to Mec.ca looking to buy anything. Because I was cooped up, bummed out and maybe a bit bored. So I ordered us some bear bells (to prevent bear-rape of both myself and JM. But me first.) and some of these bug nets. Thinking honestly that we would never use them. The day at Garry Fen Trail, we both used them. Our other four friends did not, and I’m surprised they lasted the to the end of the hour-long loop. Totally worth the $7.
I will absolutely do this trail again. It’s gonna be a great winter snowshoe trail. So there’s that if you dig the winter stuff. It’s still not my thing, not as enjoyable, but I’ve come to find myself keeping myself busy all winter with things like this all the same. End of the day, if it weren’t for the bugs everyone would have had a much better time. I don’t remember much complaining, though. We’d survived a night camping in Linda’s yard through a thunderstorm and were all itching to hike anything. This spot is somewhere in North Glengarry. About 20 minutes from Williamstown. Google Map that if you’re going, it’s easy to find. I know for sure there are no horses allowed. So, that probably takes old fashioned shootouts off the agenda. I can’t remember if doggos are allowed on this trail, but I would suggest not. I looked over some photos of the entrance and there is no sign saying pups are either allowed or disallowed. So whatever, use your judgement.
Guindon Park Loop: Mediocre, Maybe. I'm Not Mad.
So far, I’m one for two. A close-to-great trail at Garry Fen and a lame one at Warwick. For the third and final trail for this blog, I stayed closer to home. Right up the road to be exact. Guindon Park Loop. I wasn’t expecting much, but was excited nonetheless. We were supposed to do the 6km loop, but there are so many exits along this series of trails, you can really get out anywhere. We ended up bailing after 4km because the bugs had gotten super bad and the trail is not well maintained at all. Lots of overgrowth has made it quite easy to lose yourself, get turned around and start going in circles.
After the fact, I noticed a sign saying this trail was a cross-country ski trail, asking for No Walking. The Googlebox and my AllTrails app say hiking is allowed on the trails. So, I dunno. Regardless, dogs are definitely not allowed. And be prepared to spend time among the insect kingdom and cobweb city. Maybe people don’t actually walk here. It would make sense. Ask forgiveness, not permission, I suppose.
Well, three down. A whole bunch to go. I’m using the AllTrails app to find the local trails. You can download that in whatever app store you use. I’m also using a hiking guide written by a new friend that covers Ottawa & Region, including our area. Check her blog and 2020 Hiking Trail Guide at: https://www.girlgonegood.com/. And just like that, I’ve written a new blog. Man, it’s been a while. I’m looking forward to continuing the SD&G Hike Series, if anything to keep practicing some nature photos and chillin’ with my friends. See you soon, thanks for reading. At least it’s not politics and internet phD opinions on masks and pandemics, right?